If you’re like most working Americans, you didn’t use all of your vacation days last year. And that’s not a good thing – for you or your employer.


Each U.S. worker squandered an average of three vacation days last year (429 million unused days altogether) according to a recent study conducted by Oxford Economics on behalf of the U.S. Travel Association (USTA).


Adam Sacks, president of the tourism division of Oxford Economics, says it's not that people don't want to take vacation, but they sometimes feel like they can't afford to because of their workloads. “Despite the myriad benefits of taking time off, American workers succumb to various pressures – some self-imposed and some from management – to not take the time off,” said Sacks. “Leaving earned days on the table harms, not helps, employers by creating a less productive and less loyal employee.”

He added that though it may sound counterintuitive, employers are in fact worse off when their workers don't take advantage of all of their vacation time, because it can create financial liability for “when employees 'cash out' upon departure.”


Roger Dow, president and CEO of the USTA, said that Americans by their very nature tend to be go-getters, but there's something to be said for taking it easy now and then. “We seem to be wired to put the pedal to the metal, but there are also undeniable benefits to tapping the brakes,” said Dow. “Leaving just one day less on the table … would mean $73 billion in output for the U.S. economy and lead to significant positive impacts for employees and businesses.”

Did you leave work days on the table in 2013? Do you think you will this year?